Lily Bart, the brilliant heroine of Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, is famous for her irresistible charm. Beautiful, clever, spirited - she captivates her audience both in the novel and out. Yet, for all her allure, Lily elicits largely ambivalent feelings from me. She attracts, yet she repels; she inspires admiration, but also disdain; she is likeable, but at times most unlikeable. I have a love-hate relationship with Lily Bart. I envy her beauty, charm and position, yet despise w she represents - the egocentric extravagance of the upper social class. At first glance, Lily and I seem doomed to antagonism: she condemns my social environment; I, in turn, condemn hers. Closer examination of our social attitudes reveals an unsettling similarity, however. I, like Lily, am trapped within my own classism. I, like her, am guilty of prejudice and pride. But I, unlike Lily, should know better.
© 1989 by the Board of Student Publications, University of Northern Iowa
""The Great Gilt Cage","
Draftings In: Vol. 4:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/draftings/vol4/iss1/4